Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Power-Popscurites: The Kicker - First Word, Last Place

Mike Koop is a rock star. Your inattentiveness to this fact does not change it. And it isn’t for lack of trying on Koop’s part that this is so. Mike Koop, who has played in more bands than Jim Keltner, has been singing his tales of love and loneliness for almost twenty years and where have you been? Fast asleep on a bag of feed grain in your uncle’s barn that’s where.

Koop's very first band as a guitarist was Wilfred Nailer and his second one was Run Chewbacca Run. Did I mention Mike Koop, rock star, cannot name bands? Next, upon moving to the thriving metropolis of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Koop joined the Dylan-droppin' Buick Six, a small, portable folk festival who recorded an album to which he contributed four very fine songs. To complicate matters, Koop also joined Winnipeg's feral hardcore nightmare, Swallowing Shit as well as forming his first band as lead singer/song-writer; Cheerleader. Cheerleader, who were like some unholy cross between Big Star and AC/DC, debuted in 1995 on a split 7" in with local la-la poppers b’ehl, who, according to legend were thusly named because it sounded "less hippy” than Bell. (Winnipeggers in general - Monuments Galore? Propagandhi? Whole Lotta Milka? - have some issues with band names*).

(Koopie Bonaduce gets some air.)

By the mid-nineties, with his role as guitarist/backing vocalist in pop-punkers The Bonaduces, Koop had four fairly serious bands going simultaneously! So Koop quit Swallowing Shit (“I’m too wussy for this band” were supposedly his parting words) and then Buick Six (“I’m not wussy enough for this band” could have been his parting words). The wildly-improved Bonaduces put out an album on Squirtgun Records and toured Eastern Canada with the ever-strengthening Cheerleader (a tour booked by yours truly, dear reader). They fed undercooked steak to raccoons who paid them back by puking on the wheels of their van. It was that good. Though Cheerleader broke-up after their second 7", The Bonaduces became ever-stronger until the unfortunate start of lengthy hiatus that will be ended when the new album drops in September '10 (!)

In the final days of The Bonaduces, Koop formed a flurry of bands, like Dud (with John K. Sampson, then of Propagandhi, now of the Weakerthans), CCCP and finally The Kicker, whom you will now meet. The Kicker consisted of Jon Plett (The Home Team, The Details) on bass/vocals and Jack Jonasson (The Paperbacks, Novillero, Fiber Tree {Fiber Tree? Maybe Run Chewbacca Run tweren’t such a bad name after all} on drums/vocal. Kicker played Koop's songs faster and harder than ever but kept the layered vocals right out front. 2001's First Word, Last Place, on Salad Dressing Records, now available for MRML readers in glorious 192 kbps mid-fi sound, shows off all their strengths.

The Kicker - The Drummer

First Word, Last Place link is in the comment

Wild hair, badly-named bands, manic stage presence, terrifying interviewee (he even intimidated Nardwaur the Human Serviette with baffle-gab!) these are the traits of rock star awaiting discovery.

The Kicker have a MySpace
Mike Koop has YouTube Channel
The Bonaduces are here at MRML
Mike Koop's Multitude of Sins album is here

You have a keyboard, please leave a comment!

*For the record, this writer was once in a band named Jane Fonda and The Hondas, so everyone named and shamed in this piece can rest easy.


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  2. Thanks jeffen! I am a lousy commenter, but you're blog continues to be one of my favorites! Speaking of power pop, I assume you have heard the Kings? Amazon Beach has one of the greatest one-two openings in all of power pop.


  3. You've got a lot of great stuff here. Stuff I'd like to own. I'm not going to download any because, frankly, I'm overdosed on the huge amount of music currently available. I don't have time to listen to all this. But when I catch my breath, I'll be back to gorge myself. In the meantime, good commentary, good taste in music, good gracious!

  4. There's a new Bonaduces album coming out in September 2010? This is certainly good news! It's been far too long.

    elvino_ray, I was actually friends with the grandson of Alvino Ray when I lived in Montreal! His grandson is also a touring musician, and had a bunch of Alvino's tour cases around his apartment. I also met his daughter Liza.

  5. oh gosh ! The Bonaduces with a new record! I just sat with Bob at SXSW and wondered when that might happen...
    Hey Jeff - some guys from 91.7 KOOP read your blog and told me anout it...and I had to say that I'm a friend of yours - ONE DEGREE of Jeffen!


  6. meltingvisa
    (I'll get that Red Fisher fixed up eventually).

    Yeah I looked into posting a CD that had both "Are here" and "Amazon Beach" but it appears that much of their work is in print.
    (If you haven't already read their description of recording of AB at their site - do so, it's fascinating and sad.)
    Thanks for breaking the silence.

    I appreciate the good words and I completely understand the whole Musical Overload syndrome. Hope to hear back from you when you've sampled some of our wares.

    There is one coming and Doug (in that particular way of his) has been saying 'the new album drops in September' lately - so I thought I'd put it in print.

    P.S. I'd never heard of Alvino Ray till I just went to Wikipedia now - cool.

    Doug the Canuck
    Hey it's old home week at MRML - super glad to hear from you Dougy and yes a new Bonaduces album is coming (we'll see if that September thing really happens.)
    Hey I'm now worthy of name-dropping - internet fame here I come!
    Hope all is well in Austin!

  7. Kicker released a tape before this album called 'Sorry...Try Again'. It was awesome!


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